Ranger Rick: Behind the Scenes

from Wildlife Promise

This month’s issue of Ranger Rick Magazine features a story by freelancer Terry Jennings entitled, “What a Job!” Before sitting down to write the story, Terry interviewed some fascinating animal trainers, biologists, and others who work with animals.

Terry admits, “I loved this assignment because it gave me the opportunity to talk to some very cool people and to learn a lot about what they do.”

It’s All About the Animals

What Terry discovered as she spoke with these folks was how much they respect the animals they work with–and how at times these animals seem to show very “human” traits.

Who Knew Whales Could Be Cranky?

For instance, one of the people featured in the article was Lynn Schraber, Senior Animal Trainer at SeaWorld in Florida. Lynn told Terry that, just as in any human classroom, some whales are very easy to train. Others are hyperactive with short attention spans, and take more patience to work with. Lynn also said that sometimes whales can get cranky and refuse to cooperate with their trainers. Wisely, the trainers then leave them alone or give them really simple things to do.

. . . and Penguins Were Curious?

Another person Terry interviewed was National Geographic Marine Biologist and Crittercam-inventor, Greg Marshall. Greg loves penguins, partly because they are so curious. Once he dived into a sea where there wasn’t a penguin in sight. But before long, lots of these birds seemed to just materialize out of nowhere and soon surrounded him. They appeared to be trying to figure out what kind of creature he was and what he was doing in their underwater world.

Dogs Sometimes Need a Whisperer

Terry also spoke with Cesar Millan, a dog behaviorist with his own TV show, “Dog Whisperer.” Cesar regularly gets called in to work with dogs that may be fearful, shy, compulsive, jealous, or aggressive–sort of like people. Cesar shows dog owners how to correct behavior problems by taking charge in a calm and assertive manner.

Cesar told Terry that he never went to dog-training school to learn what he knows. Instead, he picked it up on his own–by observing the 10-dog pack his grandpa had. He also acquired knowledge by starting out as a dog walker years ago.

See for Yourself–the Wonders of Animals!

But wait! You don’t have to be an animal expert to enjoy the creatures in your life. Why not go outside with your children and quietly notice the nearby wildlife. What are squirrels doing this time of year? When does a fox pass through your yard or the nearby park, or at what time of day do deer come by? You get the idea.

While you’re at it, why not study the behavior of your pets more closely, too. How many different ways does your dog use its tail or its ears to express itself? What part of its body does your cat groom first?

Maybe you and your family will discover, as Terry’s subjects have long known, that it’s our connection to our animal brothers and sisters that enriches our everyday lives and brings us joy.

Libby Schleichert is a Senior Editor at Ranger Rick magazine. Follow her as @EPSchleichert on Twitter.